Should you use Facebook for business?

According to Mark Zuckerberg in the recent launch of Facebook Video Chat with Skype, there are 750 million Facebook users. Further research indicates that on average each one of those users has around 130 friends and spends an average of 15 hours on Facebook per month. In those 15 hours, the average user creates around 90 pieces of content, anything from status updates to website links, to comments on friends 'walls' to uploading photos and videos.

This represents an enormous amount of interaction with one website which in 2010 overtook Google as the most popular website on the Internet.

So how can you as a small business benefit from this?

It's easy to have a mental separation of business and social networks, but that is too simplistic a view of how we as human beings work. Its often difficult to separate the two and as the burgeoning area of social media is proving its advantageous not to.

Here's five tips to get the most out of Facebook:

You’re reading this blog, so that’s a good start. Understand the lingo, such as the difference between 'friends' and 'likes'. A Facebook user has 'friends'. A Facebook page has people who 'like' it. A friend is someone you choose to accept a friend request from. Anyone can like your business page. You would use a personal Facebook account to manage a Facebook page. You cannot have a page for your business without having a personal account behind it -even if that personal account is your web developers. Ideally, it should be someone from your business. 

As well as having a Facebook page setup you should have a plan for the content you will put on it, knowing who is going to update it, and how you will respond to visitors. Just like your website, it needs to be constantly updated.

Make sure 'friends' know about your page -so they will like it and it will feed into their news stream exposing you to others. If you don’t have a personal Facebook account, maybe now is a good time to get one.

Make sure your Facebook page integrates with your website. You have a website, right? (Contact us if you don’t). From simply showing how many people have ‘liked’ your page to having full integration where customer comments put on Facebook appear on your website and vice-versa, its all achievable. 

Check the stats. Each Facebook page comes with Insights to view the latest statistics of your page. The stats show visitors to your page, demographics, page activity and more. Use this to tweak your page to get better user response.

  1. Learn:
  2. Plan:
  3. Promote:
  4. Integrate:
  5. Assess:

The New Directory

As a final point, many people now use Facebook in the way they may have used the Yellow Pages or Thomson Directory in the past. For example in the past few weeks just in my personal circle here’s some of the things people have been after:

  • a plumber
  • builder
  • web designer
  • holiday home in Frinton
  • hair stylist
  • roofer
  • a spud gun (not sure what that it?)
  • cake making lessons

If you have a Facebook page, its extremely easy for people to recommend you by a user sharing a link to your page. These potential customers can then contact you directly with ease. Its another avenue to gain more business.

So 750 million Facebook users out there. How many of them know about you? 

If you have any thoughts on Facebook use for business, let me know by posting below.